LGBTI Arabic-speaking communities come together
SYDNEY: Beit el Hob means ‘House of Love’ in Arabic. It’s an apt name for a social and advocacy group whose credo embraces the notion of ‘queer family’ reconciled with the needs of the Arabic-speaking members of the LGBTIQ community.
Nicole Barakat, co-convenor of Beit el Hob, said the group grew from a need to provide a safe place to support Arabic-speaking LGBTIQ people. Since its inception in 2003 as a social group, Beit el Hob has evolved to include advocacy and support. Recently Beit el Hob participated in the ‘We’re Family Too’ report into the effects of homophobia in Arabic-speaking communities in NSW.
This groundbreaking research was the first of its kind in Australia. One issue the report tackled was the need for more social connection within the Arabic speaking LGBTIQ community. This month Beit el Hob plans to address this concern by presenting Ahlan – a night for LGBTIQ people from the Arabic-speaking community and their friends and families to connect over a delicious meal with good company, great music, stories and film.
“Ahlan is way for the community to check in,” Barakat said.
“The emphasis is on family, friends and allies. We’re looking at sharing stories from the past and the present and our hopes for the future.”
[Pictured] ‘We are family ‘... Beit el Hob’s Nicole Barakat and Samia Sayed. Photo: Cec Busby